A member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was shot dead by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Hamtic, Antique on Friday, Sept. 24.
The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) identified the slain CAFGU as Michael Mariano, a member of the Igbucagay CAFGU Active Axiliary (CAA). He sustained a gunshot wound to his chest.
Meanwhile, two other CAFGUs identified as John Carlo Cabigunda and Peter Glen Ocario were wounded in the attack. Cabigunda was hit in the left arm while Ocario had a bullet wound on his left leg.
Lt. Col. Harold Garcia, commanding officer of the 61st Infantry Battalion, said the victims along with four of their comrades were fetching water in Brgy. Igbucagay around 7 a.m. when they were fired upon by around five NPA fighters.
Garcia placed 61IB on high alert status as they conducted a pursuit operation against the communist rebels.
“This killing is a way for CNT [communist-terrorist] members to project their weakening presence in the area since they can no longer conduct planned big attacks against the government,” Garcia said.
Cabigunda and Ocario were rushed to the hospital for immediate treatment. They were currently in a stable condition.
Garcia said the attack was similar to what happened to Corporal Frederic Villasis, another CAFGU member, who was abducted and killed in Tapaz, Capiz last month while he was on a community support program.
Meanwhile, the Army leadership in Panay condemned the NPA’s attack on the CAFGUs.
“These anti-people and anti-peace communist-terrorists are desperate to inflict harm against our CAA personnel as part of their attempt to destroy the government’s peace and development efforts in the province,” said Major Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3ID.
Arevalo expressed condolences to the family of Mariano as he vowed to run after the NPA unit that were behind the attack.